For the last 10 days, some members of Basilan have remained in Peninsular Hotel — the quarantine hotel of the ongoing Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Lakan playoffs.
And the cost has been mounting.
According to team officials, the running bill of the Steel is closing in on P1-million in testing and accommodation, since teams in the quarantine hotel must shoulder the cost.
For Basilan owner Hegem Furigay, they are seeking intervention from the league’s top brass — namely founder Sen. Manny Pacquiao.
“Upon leaving Manila, we reminded them of all the MPBL as well as the IATF protocols and guidelines in place, so we can finish the Lakan season smoothly, fully knowing that we are spending a portion of our operational expense just for testing and quarantine.
“All of them housed in their own individual rooms not interacting with each other is not an easy pill to swallow in terms of expense,” said the councilor.
Basilan already had a tough road heading to Subic.
Just like Makati, Basilan was ready to back out of the restart of the Lakan Season since funding was a problem for the team. Pacquiao and his staff were able to find a solution to Basilan’s woes by absorbing the franchise. Basilan brought the franchise for P10-million.
It forced Basilan to return.
“When the MPBL approached us about joining the bubble, we were hesitant to join because of the logistics, manpower, and resources needed to successfully finish our campaign. But the MPBL management forced our hand with the threat of the forfeiture of our franchise,” Furigay’s statement read.
“And so, we re-signed all of our players and staff with agreements so that the ones who will be joining the bubble will have the sense of security that we all want.”
Basilan and Davao Occidental were tied at one-apiece in the best-of-three Southern Division Finals. The game would have taken place on March 10, but two players tested positive for the coronavirus.
After transporting the two players to their respective local government units, the league mandated that Basilan had seven days to test negative. One positive result would result in forfeiture.
Unfortunately, four members of the delegation tested positive.
Now, nine members of the delegation are still in the quarantine hotel. They can only leave after another round of swab tests. For the team owner, they did not expect this kind of treatment.
“We invested heavily in our campaign to win it all, but this incident unjustly took that chance away from us, not even letting my people step on the court for one single time. So now we are demanding the costs of our campaign back,” his statement continued.
“We were led on, cheated, and made fools of. We entered this bubble in good faith. Show us good faith on our way out.”